Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Launches Opportunity to Succeed Program

Sunset, SC – Inspiring the American Dream Foundation today announced the launch of its new Opportunity to Succeed program. Financed through a grant provided by Dabo’s All In Team Foundation®, the program is being piloted at A.R. Lewis Elementary School in Pickens, South Carolina, as an After-School Reading Camp for 3rd grade students.

Photo (2015)(02-02) AR Lewis Reading Camp (9)Central to the program is a new and innovative curriculum that has been designed to inspire and challenge students to become proficient readers, while exploring their American Dream. The program highlights specific character traits, such as perseverance and self-control, which will help prepare the students to achieve their goals in and out of the classroom.

Reading materials will focus on American historical figures that relied on these traits to achieve their dreams. Students will be encouraged to make connections between the featured characters’ traits and their own personal behaviors, and to apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations; enabling them to realize the vision that the American Dream is achievable.

“Developing student reading skills is an integral step to achieving success in life, said Kathleen Swinney, Co-founder, Dabo’s All In Team Foundation. “We are so proud of our partnership with Inspiring the American Dream Foundation and the work they are doing so close to home with A.R. Lewis Elementary.”

Officially launched on February 2nd, the Opportunity to Succeed program has several components:

  • community/team building
  • enriching literature
  • student-student and group discussions
  • American Dream projects
  • celebration events to highlight achievement

Each student will determine the communications medium for his or her American Dream project. The projects will reflect on the students’ reading and comprehension of the materials and his or her own journey toward the American Dream. All projects will be student driven, and will be presented in various media forms, including essays, poems, drawings, plays, videos, or PowerPoint presentations.

American Dream projects will be showcased at the school and during a subsequent field trip to Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s upcoming Inspire the Dream Career Fair. The event will be held on May 19th at the Embassy Suites in Greenville, South Carolina. There, A.R. Lewis third graders will be recognized at an awards ceremony for their successful completion of the reading camp. Local celebrities, Kylie Odetta, Dale Gilbert and Sam Wyche, will also be on hand to inspire and motivate the students and their parents.

“The idea behind this program is to help build reading skills that will enable these students become life-long readers, said Melissa Brown, Inspiring the American Dream Foundation volunteer and curriculum architect. “Young children often struggle with reading and tend to give up quickly. This program teaches skills through fun activities and student empowerment, and highlights the understanding that perseverance and sticking-with-it is part of achieving success. Perseverance, as we all know, is essential for success in life – a key ideal the Foundation wants to impress upon students.”

“We are excited to embark on this journey with Inspiring the American Dream Foundation, said Melissa Terry, Principal at A.R. Lewis Elementary School. “Our hope is for a successful program that will allow students to build confidence and self-assurance as readers and to improve their ability to read.”

Photo (2015)(02-02) AR Lewis Reading Camp (15)About Inspiring the American Dream Foundation

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, has been established to help inspire children and young adults to achieve the American Dream, a set of ideals in which freedom, ability and virtue provide the opportunity for prosperity, happiness and upward mobility, regardless of race, ethnicity or social class. By engaging children of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds with an appreciation for the ideals, values and virtues inherent in the American Dream, the Foundation will help prepare students across the country to become independent, prosperous and productive members of society.

About the Albert R. Lewis Elementary School

Albert R. Lewis Elementary School is a Title 1 school located in rural Pickens, South Carolina. The school’s leadership strives to provide its students the opportunity to become proficient readers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers, enabling them to be successful beyond the classroom and participate in a global community. For more information visit, http://arl.pickens.k12.sc.us/

MEDIA CONTACTS

John Eby
SDPC Public Information Specialist
School District of Pickens County
E-Mail: johneby@pickens.k12.sc.us
Phone: (864) 397-1045

Robert Basmadjian
Co-Founder and Chairman
Inspiring the American Dream Foundation
E-Mail: bob@inspire-the-dream.org
Phone: (864) 868-0202

Inspire the Dream Golf Classic & Career Fair

Make plans to join us at Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s Inspire the Dream Golf Classic & Career Fair. Enjoy a day of golf competition, camaraderie and mentorship, while helping to inspire the American Dream!

Place: Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort & Conference Center
Date: May 19, 2015
Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm

Download the Registration Form and Details Here

Download the Career Fair Floor Plan (Embassy Suites)

A.R. Lewis Elementary to pilot after-school reading program with help from All In Foundation

Two happy schoolchildren have fun in classroom at schoolThey don’t call students at A.R. Lewis Elementary School the Superstars for nothing. The school has been chosen to pilot an after-school reading program by the Inspiring the American Dream Foundation through a $10,000 grant from Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney’s All In Team Foundation.

For more information visit, http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/pickens-county/2014/11/19/ar-lewis-elementary-pilot-school-reading-program-help-dabos-foundation/19271093/

$10,000 Grant from Dabo’s All In Team® Foundation

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Awarded $10,000 Grant from Dabo’s All In Team® Foundation

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Grant to support After-School Reading Camp at A.R. Lewis Elementary School

Photo (2014)(11-12) Grant Awards Ceremony (3)Sunset, SC – (November 18, 2014) – Inspiring the American Dream Foundation announced today that it has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Dabo’s All In Team Foundation. The grant will support Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s ‘Opportunity to Succeed’ program, which will be piloted as an After-School Reading Camp at Albert R. Lewis Elementary School (AR Lewis) in Pickens, South Carolina.

Launching in early 2015, the Opportunity to Succeed Reading Camp at AR Lewis will be focused on improving 3rd grade reading proficiency, while at the same time, instilling in its students important character traits necessary to achieve the American Dream.

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s Opportunity to Succeed Program has been developed around three guiding principles – teach, share and empower:

Teach students about the American Dream, while making the learning experience fun and interesting

Share with students the necessary skills and character traits to achieve their American Dreams

Empower students by helping them to visualize their personal American Dream journeys

Developed as an eight week program, the reading camp curriculum will feature in-classroom reading instruction as well as guest speakers and other related activities. Reading materials will focus on American historical figures that relied on character traits such as courage, perseverance and self-control, amongst others, to achieve their dreams. The children will demonstrate mastery of the program through discussions, writings, group activities and final presentations, including the use of 21st Century technologies. Standard MAP scores will be used as metrics to monitor the students’ progress over the course of the program.

Photo (2014)(11-12) Grant Awards Ceremony (2)“We are humbled and grateful for the generous donation made by Dabo’s All In Team Foundation,” said Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Chairman, Robert Basmadjian. “Inspiring the American Dream Foundation is committed to delivering educational programs that will challenge students, leading them to self-discovery, achievement and success. Through the support of Dabo’s All In Team Foundation, we will be able to provide students at AR Lewis with the necessary tools and resources to help pave the way for their unique American Dream journeys.”

About Inspiring the American Dream Foundation

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation has been established to help inspire children and young adults to achieve the American Dream, a set of ideals in which freedom, ability and virtue provide the opportunity for prosperity, happiness and upward mobility, regardless of race, ethnicity or social class. By engaging children of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds with an appreciation for the ideals, values and virtues inherent in the American Dream, the Foundation will help prepare students across the country to become independent, prosperous and productive members of society. For additional information, visit www.inspire-the-dream.org.

 About the Albert R. Lewis Elementary School

Albert R. Lewis Elementary School is a Title 1 school located in rural Pickens, South Carolina. The school’s leadership strives to provide its students the opportunity to become proficient readers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers, enabling them to be successful beyond the classroom and participate in a global community. For more information visit, http://arl.pickens.k12.sc.us/

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Note to the Editor: 4/C photography available upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT

Robert Basmadjian
Co-Founder and Chairman
Inspiring the American Dream Foundation
Phone: (864) 868-0202
E-Mail: bob@inspire-the-dream.org
Website: www.inspire-the-dream.org

Inspiring The American Dream

By Robert K. Basmadjian

                               Co-Founder and Chairman of Inspiring the American Dream Foundation                                    

The American Dream: An Historical Perspective

TBob Basbadjianhe phrase “American dream”, coined by author, James Truslow Adams, in his 1931 book, The Epic of America, has become a powerful metaphor of the core values and principles upon which America was founded. Rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, the concept of the American dream has over the years become widely associated with economic success.

Although Adams considered economic success to be central amongst these values, he also recognized that the true meaning of the American dream could only be measured by other values of equal, if not greater, importance. “Being able to grow to fullest development as men and women, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had been erected for the benefit of the classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class” is how Adams viewed this unique, American ideal.

Public Education and the American Dream

American public education is a core institution for teaching our children the skills necessary to graduate and pursue a successful and rewarding career. Our democracy and economic well-being cannot exist without an educated and responsible citizenry. However, many children growing up in America today do not possess the basic reading, writing and technology skills to compete in what has become a highly-competitive global marketplace.

According to the 2010 Annie E. Casey Early Warning Study, reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade can be a make-or-break benchmark in a child’s educational development. The study found that low achievement in reading has important long-term consequences in terms of individual earning potential, global competitiveness and general productivity. Compounding the problem is the reading gap between students of low, moderate and high-income families. At the time the study was written, there were 7.9 million low-income children from birth through age 8 – one fifth of all kids in this age group. Based upon current trends, 6.6 million of these children (83%) would be at an increased risk of failing to graduate from high school on time because they wouldn’t be able to meet the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP) proficient reading level by the end of 3rd grade.

To help preserve the American dream for our next generation, educators not only need to focus on improving our children’s basic skill sets, but also to incorporate character development into their educational curriculum. As Adams rightly described in his book, the American dream represents more than economic success, it is a commitment by its citizenry to honor and live by a set of core American values. In order to sustain itself, a democratic society must be able to pass on to its younger generation certain virtues and character traits such as integrity, honesty and personal responsibility. Hard work and determination, once the cornerstones of the American dream, are no longer enough to ensure success for our children. Only by combining skill with virtue will our next generation have the opportunity to become independent, successful, and productive members of society.

Inspiring the American Dream: The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur in Education

Long considered a defining moment in modern American educational history, the 1983 “A Nation at Risk” report ignited a wave of local, state, and federal reform efforts. The report, which amongst other things, concluded that our nation’s educational system was failing to meet the basic needs and requirements for producing a competitive American workforce, paved the way for the rise of the modern-day ‘social entrepreneur’.

This new breed of educator has emerged to become a powerful force in the education industry, partnering with schools, faith-based organizations and other not-for-profits all across the United States, to provide innovative learning solutions and improve outcomes for millions of students. The non-profit private sector, through a combination of philanthropy and business insight, expertise and processes, has transformed our country’s education system, helping to preserve the American dream for America’s next generation.

An example of these reform efforts is the recent launch of Inspiring the American Dream Foundation, a South Carolina-based 501(c) (3) organization. Through the foundation’s new Opportunity to Succeed Program, the organization will be partnering with educators throughout the United States to support children’s emergent literacy, while at the same time, providing students with an appreciation for the ideals, values and virtues inherent in the American dream.

 

A. R. Lewis Elementary School Partnership

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Announces Partnership with A. R. Lewis Elementary School to Improve 3rd Grade Reading Proficiency

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SC-based Title 1 School to pilot foundation’s new, Opportunity to Succeed Program

Photo (2014)(10-17) A.R. Lewis (3)Sunset, SC – (October 14, 2014) – Inspiring the American Dream Foundation today announced that it has entered into an education partnership with Albert R. Lewis Elementary School (AR Lewis) to pilot the Foundation’s new ‘Opportunity to Succeed’ program. The program will be launched in early 2015 as an after-school reading camp for 3rd grade students at the South Carolina-based school.

AR Lewis is a Title 1 school that serves 226 students. The school is located in rural Pickens, South Carolina. In 2011, the poverty index for the school was 78.5 percent with 64.6 percent of the students receiving a free or reduced lunch rate. The number of students living in single family homes is estimated to be 51 percent with a 17.7 percent homeless rate.

The Opportunity to Succeed curriculum for AR Lewis will be focused on improving 3rd grade reading proficiency, while at the same time, instilling in its students the virtues and character traits necessary to achieve the American dream.

According to the 2010 Annie E. Casey Early Warning Study*, reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade can be a make-or-break benchmark in a child’s educational development. The study concludes that low achievement in reading has important long-term consequences in terms of individual earning potential, global competitiveness and general productivity. Compounding the problem is the reading gap between students of low, moderate and high-income families. At the time the study was written, there were 7.9 million low-income children from birth through age 8 – one fifth of all kids in this age group. Based upon current trends, 6.6 million of these children (83%) would be at an increased risk of failing to graduate from high school on time because they wouldn’t be able to meet the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP) proficient reading level by the end of 3rd grade.

“As a result of generational poverty, many of AR Lewis’ families have not experienced the value of education first hand and therefore have difficulty academically motivating their children,” said Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Chairman, Robert Basmadjian. “More often than not, low-income parents are overstressed in trying to meet the daily needs of their families. These daily pressures often lead to a lack of focus on the educational needs of their children. Our goal with this program is to help improve third grade reading proficiency for the school’s students; thereby helping them to graduate, pursue a successful career and achieve their personal American dreams.”

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s Opportunity to Succeed Program has been developed around three guiding principles – teach, share and empower:

Teach students about the American dream, while making the learning experience fun and interesting

Share with students the necessary skills and virtues to achieve their American dream

Empower students by helping them to visualize their personal American dream journey

The program will be customized specifically for AR Lewis, supporting an 8-week curriculum targeted to start in the second half of the 2014 school year. The curriculum will introduce character traits and virtues that will empower students to achieve their goals. Reading materials will focus on American historical figures that relied on theses virtues to achieve their dreams. The children will demonstrate mastery of the program through discussions, writings, group activities and final presentations, including the use of 21st Century technologies. Standard MAP scores will be used as metrics to monitor the students’ progress over the course of the program.

“A.R. Lewis is excited to partner with Inspiring the American Dream Foundation to help our students reach their full potential, said A.R. Lewis Elementary School Principal, Melissa Terry. “Young people learn best when nurturing, caring adults provide motivation and encouragement as they learn. We are fortunate to have the foundation’s support.”

Photo (2014)(10-17) A.R. Lewis (2)About Inspiring the American Dream Foundation

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation has been established to help inspire children and young adults to achieve the American Dream, a set of ideals in which freedom, ability and virtue provide the opportunity for prosperity, happiness and upward mobility, regardless of race, ethnicity or social class. By engaging children of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds with an appreciation for the ideals, values and virtues inherent in the American Dream, the Foundation will help prepare students across the country to become independent, prosperous and productive members of society. For additional information, visit www.inspire-the-dream.org.

About the Albert R. Lewis Elementary School

Albert R. Lewis Elementary School is a Title 1 school located in rural Pickens, South Carolina. The school’s leadership strives to provide its students the opportunity to become proficient readers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers, enabling them to be successful beyond the classroom and participate in a global community. For more information visit, http://arl.pickens.k12.sc.us/

 

* 2010 KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, EARLY WARNING! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters

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NOTE TO THE EDITOR: 4/C photography is available upon request. If interested, please contact Robert Basmadjian at the number and/or e-mail address below.

MEDIA CONTACTS

John Eby
SDPC Public Information Specialist
School District of Pickens County
E-Mail: johneby@pickens.k12.sc.us
Phone: (864) 397-1045
 
Robert Basmadjian
Co-Founder and Chairman
Inspiring the American Dream Foundation
E-Mail: bob@inspire-the-dream.org
Phone: (864) 868-0202

The Foundation Teams Up With Clemson University

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Teams Up With Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute to Pilot New Opportunity to Succeed Program

Sunset, SC – (October 7, 2014) – Inspiring the American Dream Foundation today announced that it has entered into a strategic business partnership with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute (YLI) to pilot the Foundation’s new Opportunity to Succeed Program. The program will be integrated into sixth-grade curriculum at the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), the public charter middle school operated by YLI on its Pickens campus.

ITADF meets with YLA Principals“We are excited to be partnering with Inspiring the American Dream Foundation,” said Youth Leadership Academy Principal, Patsy Wood Smith. “YLA’s mission is to help its students discover and cultivate their unique abilities, qualities and skills, enabling them to become successful, productive members of their community. We believe integrating Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s new Opportunity to Succeed Program into our sixth grade curriculum will reinforce that commitment, allowing us to provide new and exciting learning experiences for our students.”

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s Opportunity to Succeed Program has been developed around three guiding principles – teach, share and empower:

Teach students about the American dream, while making the learning experience fun and interesting

Share with students the necessary skills and virtues to achieve their American dream

Empower students by helping them to visualize their personal American dream journey

A variety of learning materials, activities and events will be included in the school’s curriculum, inspiring students to learn about contemporary and historical figures that have achieved the American dream, while positively influencing American industry, culture and history. Special emphasis will be placed on concepts and ideals such as freedom, liberty and equal opportunity, which make America and the American dream unique to the rest of the world.

Developed to support its 2014-2015 school year learning objectives, the curriculum will include:

  • A field trip to see the Wright Stuff: First in Flight at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC
  • A book review and discussion of Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream, in conjunction with an authors’ visit
  • A book review and discussion of A Christmas Carol
  • Book reviews and discussions of Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington and Abraham Lincoln
  • Motivational speaking events
  • Research and development of reports, essays, videos and presentations

“Improving reading, comprehension, writing and technology skills is an essential and fundamental step in helping young, South Carolina students to succeed in school and the workplace,” said Inspiring the American Dream Foundation Chairman, Robert Basmadjian. “Equally important is helping students to develop important character traits such as perseverance, self-reliance and personal responsibility. Working with innovative schools like the Youth Leadership Academy, we believe that this new program will create a valuable learning experience for students, helping them to achieve their personal American dreams.”

About Inspiring the American Dream Foundation

Inspiring the American Dream Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, has been established to help inspire children and young adults to achieve the American dream, a set of ideals in which freedom, ability and virtue provide the opportunity for prosperity, happiness and upward mobility, regardless of race, ethnicity or social class. By engaging children of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds with an appreciation for the ideals, values and virtues inherent in the American Dream, the Foundation will help prepare students across the country to become independent, prosperous and productive members of society. For additional information, visit www.inspire-the-dream.org

About Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute

Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute (YLI) is a vital component of Clemson’s youth outreach effort and helps fulfill the University’s mission of public service by using the research and knowledge of University faculty and staff to develop programs that especially reach youth. More than 30,000 young people participate annually in numerous programs held at eight facilities across South Carolina, ranging from one-day, school-based programs to two-week, residential experiences.

Clemson University has been offering experiential education to the youth of South Carolina since 1934. Since that time, Clemson camping has touched the lives of more than 250,000 participants. Initially founded as a 9-week summer camp operation, YLI’s mission expanded beyond traditional camp programming to year-round service to youth, families and youth development professionals.

YLI partners with numerous organizations, such as local schools and school districts, the S.C. Department of Social Services, the Coalition for Natural Resource Education, American Diabetic Association, S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, Santee Cooper and Columbia College to develop and implement training and education programs that positively impact youth.

For additional information, visit http://www.clemson.edu/yli/

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Note to the Editor: 4/C photography available upon request. For images, contact Robert Basmadjian at the number or e-mail address below.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Pam Bryant
Director of Public Information
Clemson University Youth Learning Institute
Phone: (803) 553-7705
Fax: (864) 878-5985
E-mail: pbryant@clemson.edu
 
Robert Basmadjian
Co-Founder and Chairman
Inspiring the American Dream Foundation
Phone: (864) 868-0202
E-Mail: bob@inspire-the-dream.org

Opportunity to Succeed Program Launched

Photo (2014)(04-23) Congressman Duncan at AR Lewis (3)To help kick-off the SHARE component of Inspiring the American Dream Foundation’s new Opportunity to Succeed Program, U.S. Representative (South Carolina 3rd Congressional District), Jeff Duncan, shared his personal American dream story with a group of 4th and 5th graders at A.R. Lewis Elementary School in Pickens South Carolina.